By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The sweltering heat is not keeping people away from all the fun along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It’s a sea of red, white and blue at the Wawa Welcome America party.

The Party on the Parkway is the place to be this Fourth of July. Eyewitness News met people who came to Philly from all over our area and beyond just for the event.

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Thousands of people packed the Parkway for the finale of Wawa’s week-long Welcome America party.

“This is a great city, it’s a great place to be. So everybody come on out,” Fairmount resident Lenny McLeod said.

Some people said they make coming to the Party on the Parkway a family tradition. Many are excited to play the games, take selfies in a photo booth and of course, chow down.

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“The smells of the food, it smells so good. The fireworks, yes, the atmosphere. It’s exciting,” Chester’s Helen Summers said.

Others say the event has been on their Philly bucket list.

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“From Philadelphia, first time coming to this festive event. So I’m glad to be here,” one woman said.

There are some changes to this year’s Party on the Parkway. The perimeter now has a fence, plus some people noticed …

“It’s different than it’s been in years past. There’s a lot more security. But it’s a happy vibe and everyone’s having a good time, the way Fourth of July should be,” one woman said.

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That happy vibe may be attributed to the trade off for the fencing. There’s no longer designated drinking areas. People can now have an adult beverage anywhere along the Parkway.

“Anywhere I can walk around with a drink, I’m good,” Florida resident Mike Denisen said.

Academy and two-time Grammy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson and Meghan Trainor graced the stage. And then it was time fort the fireworks show that everyone was waiting for.

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CBS3’s Matt Petrillo and Chantee Lans contributed to this report.